At the same time Pam (2 years old) was in hospital in London also seriously ill. My poor Mother had travelled overseas to visit her Father and Dad was to follow at a later date. Pam had been infected with a lung ailment from another passenger on the boat. This illness left her with a weak chest and she had pneumonia five times as a young child. My Mother said she kept Pam alive on prayers and brandy.
Another complication was that Dad held the return tickets for the boat and they had disappeared by the time she was able to leave England. She was finally allowed to travel on the understanding that she would lose her berth if another passenger turned up with the ticket.
I admire my Father's achievements. He succeeded despite the odds against him. Think what he could have attained with further schooling and the chance to attend University.
When Desia Colgan was quoting case histories in the book she was compiling in regard to the abolition of the death sentence excuses were always made for those who had undergone a difficult childhood. It really annoyed me - these men are simply evil.'
Desia goes on to retell this story: 'One day, walking to school, Dad picked a pear from a tree hanging over a wall. A policeman saw him and told his foster mother. All the family were going to a Fair the next day (a rare treat I gather). As punishment for his crime Dad was locked in his room with bread and water and without books or toys. No thought of fire or any other emergency. Anyway Dad managed to unscrew the lock and went downstairs, collecting a pie and some books to read. He replaced the books and re-locked the door before the family returned. Apparently the mystery of the disappearing pie was never solved.'
'When Dad was dying he kept talking about people from his past and then saying: 'But you can't see them.' He also pointed to the ceiling and remarked on the tunnel with light shining through, again saying 'But you can't see it.' He was only in the hospital for a couple of days and Mum, Derrick and I visited him in hospital just before he died and his last words to Derrick were 'Look after my two ladies.' The night before this I had asked God for the opportunity to say a proper 'Goodbye' to Dad. He hadn't been fully 'compos mentis' when he entered hospital.'
Victor and Biddy May had two daughters:
M2/7.a Pamela Agnes May, who was born on 28th November 1928 in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia and she married George Nathaniel Colgan on 10th June 1950, at St. John's Cathedral in Bulawayo. George Colgan was born in Ireland on 9th December 1916 or 1917. He worked on the mines in Mufulera, Northern Rhodesia as an Engineering Draughtsman.
Pamela Agnes Colgan died in Johannesburg on 7th August 1988.
Desia wrote about her sister: 'Pam was also very clever and should have progressed to University but ill health interrupted her schooling. She worked in a drawing office until her marriage. George and Pam lived in Mufilera, from 1950 to about 1967 when George took early retirement for health reasons and they moved to Cape Town. George invested a considerable amount of money in stamps and he opened a business. It was decided that Libby should complete her senior schooling in Rhodesia, staying with Mum and Dad, so George accompanied her to Bulawayo where he had a break down in health and was in bed for several month, requiring Mum's care. Pam tried to run the stamp business without George's 'knowledge', but finally had to sell it and return to Rhodesia in 1971. They settled in Salisbury and Libby attended University there. They lived across the road from the University. Pam's main hobby was the theatre and she produced several plays, one of which Bon Aventure (spelling?) won the prize for the best production on the Copper Belt. Pam had qualified as a speech Trainer and whilst in Mufulera she ran classes at home. She also taught at Sunday school. In Cape Town Pam completed a Computer Programmer's Course. Unfortunately Pam had to return to work in her 50's in Salisbury even though she was crippled with arthritis. She managed to remain cheerful - working full time, running a home for her family and a few lodgers; students and a Professor (who was more trouble than the students).
Sean married and [his sister] Desia went to University in Pietermaritzburg . Libby was employed by De Beers in Kimberley, where she bought a house for her parents. So they moved down there. Then Libby was transferred to Johanneburg and Pam and George went with her. Unfortunately Pam broke her hip and had to have a replacement operation. The hip never healed and she was in a wheelchair for several months before she died. It was most distressing to see her so ill and demoralized. I said, 'Pam, you've always been so strong'. She replied 'Not any more, Dee.' She died 8/8/1988. Now, George lives with Desia [his daughter] who supports him financially. He still owns thousands of stamps!'
Unfortunately, neither of them was blessed with good health. George, in particular, never recovered completely after being trapped under fallen masonry during a bombing raid in the Second War, which left him with a very nervous disposition and stomach problems. Pam suffered from severe arthritis and the last time we saw her she was confined to a wheelchair, but it was still she that was trying to keep things going about the house. Like all the May girls, she had a gentle and sweet nature and always tried to please those around her. The Colgans moved from Rhodesia and came to live in South Africa, on the reef where George tried to make a living selling stamps, as he was reputed to be an expert in this field and he obtained a partnership in a stamp shop.
Desia Wood wrote in January 2002 that George had a sister in England called Bess and a twin brother, Alfred, living in Australia. [Refer to details under M1/5.e for Robert and Grace Whitehead's daughter, Ethel] and continued: 'George seems to be rejuvenating. Because of his health family and friends handled him with kid gloves but I have always said he would outlive us all.'
Pamela and George had three children all born in Mufulera, Northern Rhodesia.:
(i) Elizabeth Ann (Libby) Colgan, born 19.7.1954; she worked for de Beers Diamond Mining Company for many years prior to emigrating to Perth, Australia. There she studied and took a degree at the University of Western Australia. (PhD - specializing in Gold.)
Desia Wood wrote: 'Libby was with De Beers in Kimberley and then Johannesburg as a consultant expert on diamonds. She travelled to different parts of the world as was necessary for her work... Libby is a loner - spends hours on her computer.'
(ii) Sean Neville Colgan, born 9.1.1958. He married Elizabeth Laban and they had two daughters: (a) Desia Ann Colgan and (b) Kimberley May Colgan. Sean became a small toolmaker. They left Southern Africa and emigrated to Perth, Australia (before Libby did). Elizabeth's parents who had been living in Canada also joined the family in Perth.
(iii) Desia Dorothy (Dee) Cogan, born 21.5.1960. She decided to remain in Johannesburg, where she teaches Law at the Witwaterands University. At the time of writing she was the Regional Co-ordinator at the School of Law there and a member of the Water Board dealing with Labour Law.